Thursday , May , 19 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

NBA breaks off talks with Players Association

New York, NY (Sports Network) – National Basketball Association Deputy
Commissioner Russ Granik announced on Wednesday that due to the Players
Association’s recent reversal of position on several key issues, there are no
further negotiations scheduled at this time

“Since the All-Star break the NBA and the Players Association have been in
arduous negotiations to reach a new collective bargaining agreement,” Granik
said. “At the conclusion of a bargaining session on Sunday, April 17 we
thought we were very close to a deal, with only a few items remaining to be
compromised.”

“On April 19, a day after the Players Association met with a group of player
agents, we were informed that the Players Association could no longer agree to
a previously-committed five-year rule on length of contracts. Then, last week,
after promising a written proposal to form the basis of a new agreement, the
union instead advised us orally that it needed to backtrack on several other
essential terms that had already been resolved.”

Granik has suggested that union director Billy Hunter has been convinced by
player agents to back off some of the concessions he had agreed to in earlier
negotiation sessions.

The current CBA expires on June 30 – two days after the NBA Draft – meaning
a lockout could come as early as July 1.

“Since we are at a loss as to how we can possibly reach a new deal that is in
any way consistent with the principal terms that we have been discussing for
many months, there are no further meetings scheduled at this time,” Granik
added.

The league and union went through a seven-month lockout in 1998-99 before
agreeing to a seven-year agreement.